For the past two days, child welfare professionals and educators who have gathered in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., have delved into the complicated question of how best to protect vulnerable Native American children.
Many of the speakers and presenters at the 32nd annual conference of the National Indian Child Welfare Association, which ends Wednesday, talked about not only the incredible challenges facing children and families caught in the system, but also the difficulties endured by professionals in the field.
Attendees came from across the U.S. and Canada to share their techniques and latest research to help child welfare workers, whose jobs have been described as complex and often isolating.
On Tuesday, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation announced that it has launched an online resource guide aimed at helping organizations and individuals who serve racial and ethnic communities and are working to “achieve racial healing and equity” in their communities.
“You can find a range of tools from both Native communities and other communities of color, and find out from them what’s making a difference across the country in the lives of children,” said Kathy A. Reincke, communications officer with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
The Racial Equity Resource Guide allows users to build their own directory of sources and organizations and gain access to other materials, such as studies, articles and training curricula. Pre-made toolkits are available on the website, which can be accessed at racialequityresourceguide.org. After registering on the site and customizing a toolkit, users can save it or download it.
Reincke said the guide is also useful for media professionals.
In his welcome message to conferees, NICWA executive director Terry L. Cross said his organization was founded by Native people who were seeking peer support.
The online research tool is an extension of that effort by professionals to help each other in their service of protecting children.
Note: I attended this conference as a representative of the Native American Journalists Association through a sponsorship by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Follow me on Twitter @karenmichel.